Five Go Mad

Sunday 22 August 2010

Q and A with Beware the Moon

Beware the Moon are father and daughter duo Louise and John Wakefield who together design and manufacture glamorous and unique wallpaper enhanced with holograms, glitter, and colour changing iridescent inks. Playing with light and colours, and using unusual paints and materials for their wallpaper, their initial designs are visually stunning and beautifully crafted. 

How did Beware the Moon start up?   
Well my father and I crossed paths at the end of 2008, having not seen much of each other for a few years, we brainstormed and let ideas run wild, only this time over a rather achievable goal, wallpaper. We’ve both had a few less-grounded ideas in the past! We just sort of ran with it accidentally, it was all very organic and unplanned.  

I loved some of his more avant-garde designs and could see that, produced to the best quality with a focus on good business ethics, lots of other people would too. My background is photography and property renovation and he’s a fantastic artist with a long history of wallpaper design in a more commercial market. We both realised we had plenty of beguiling ideas and inspirations to make peculiar and exciting wallpaper for a very long time, so with a big dose of why not? we set up Beware the Moon early 2009.

Were there any particular challenges you faced starting up?
ooh yes. Not least reining in the many hair-brained ideas, like creating entirely flock-velvet walls, impossible by the way! Getting the glitters right is a constant challenge, no one else has gone before us in that field, screen printing glitter wallpapers. It’s very tricky stuff to work with, getting consistency and texture good and lusty, without leaving your house and decorator covered in the stuff. It took about 6 months of tweaking and um’ing and ah’ing and not giving up.  Oh and the obvious ‘big challenge’ is working with family right? we’re experts in cross-wires and misplaced communications shall we say, but we’ve got love, so it’s all good.

What are you working on at the moment?
We have 2 utterly mind-bending 3D foil wallpapers going into production right now. They are incredible the way they play with lighting and colour, and I can’t wait to photograph them later this month.  We also have about 5 other designs in the pipeline, which I can’t really talk too much about at this stage (secrets and all that), but let’s say they range from twee and angelic florals, to traditional with a psychedelic twist, lots to keep little and big minds occupied.

Who is the typical beware the moon customer?  
It’s a small international market of eccentrics really. We’ve had everything, from people in English stately homes decorating 4-poster bedrooms with naked ladies, to Ostrich feature walls in New York pied a terre’s, to clients in Peru doing their bathrooms in flock velvet skulls.  

What are your inspirations for your designs?  
Everything and anything, I love contradiction and absurdity, and my father is pioneer of all things physics and natural world, so between us we have a wide spectrum of nonsense to choose from. I love the simple life and am very at home in a field with a river and a fire, but I live mainly in London. My father lives in Cumbria, and rather loves the city. We get together as often as possible to let new ideas and experiences formulate designs.

Do you source and use materials from sustainable sources?
Yes wherever possible we use water-based inks, and all of our paper is FSC regulated, from sustainable European forests. 

What methods do you use to produce your wallpaper?
We use hand-screen-printing and traditional rollers for the flocks and holographics.

What's your favourite product in your range? 
That’s hard, depends on the project/what it’s to be used for. I can never stop loving Skulls Bronze on Oil Slick, it’s our most expensive paper, and the biggest seller, for good reason, it’s simply stunning.  I also love the Ostrich Large Pencil on Bone, I’d go for that in my loo.  Having said that, I’ve got Skulls Bronze on Bronze in my own hallway and it blows people away because it’s such a small space, but it brings so much luxury and refinement to the room, it’s so very strokeable!

Any of your British contemporaries you admire and why?
I love Timourous Beasties here in the UK, and Flavor Papers in the States rock. 

What comes to mind when considering ‘Quintessentially British’?
Ooh absolutely nothing specific, abject contradiction, eccentricity, style and defiance are indefinable..I guess if I had to conjure an image it would be of a well dressed man, with pink socks and a sun parasol, sitting in a deck chair in a drizzly field, reading The Tao of Pooh (hiding a copy of The Sun), with a large glass of Ribena (sugar free) and a busy motorway whirring in the background, oh and some Paul McKenna on the iPod.

Why did you decide to work with FiveGoMad?
I like their style, there’s a lot to be said for this ‘shop local’ vibe we’re on at present, and it’s great to know there are places people can shop for interesting wares, which are all made relatively close to home.

What's next for Beware the Moon? 
Hm, world domination via the downstairs loo? or possibly just another cup of tea.

Liz Appleby


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